Police Officer Accused Of Sexually Assaulting 14-Year-Old Girl He Took For Rape-Kit Exam

New Orleans police officer Rodney Vicknair allegedly positioned himself ‘as a role model and protective male figure,’ the victim’s attorney claims.

April 06, 2021

Mugshot of former NOPD officer Rodney Vicknair [via St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office]

Mugshot of former NOPD officer Rodney Vicknair [via St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A former New Orleans police officer, who was the first to respond to the scene after a 14-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted, groomed her for months before allegedly raping her, the girl’s family has claimed in a lawsuit.

Last Memorial Day, 53-year-old Rodney Vicknair, was dispatched to take the girl to the emergency room for a forensic medical examination. He later phoned the girl at home, gave her his contact information and then slowly gained her trust via calls, texts, social media exchanges and in-person meetings, allege court documents obtained by The Washington Post.

“Officer Vicknair repeatedly described sexual acts he would like to engage in with [the alleged victim] and suggested the fact that she was a minor would not stop him,” the lawsuit reads.

The suit also describes how Vicknair allegedly requested explicit photos, groped the girl’s buttocks, and twice sexually assaulted her while the two were in his patrol car.

“He preyed on a single mother and her young daughter, a rape survivor, by positioning himself as a role model and protective male figure in their lives,” Hope Phelps, an attorney for the girl’s mother, told The Post. “He then used that position to create distrust between them, isolating his target from her mother. He escalated from sexualizing the young girl to sexual assault and rape.”


The lawsuit, filed in February in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, states Vicknair “was a singularly bad choice” for initially helping the girl and her mother.

“He was not a member of NOPD’s Special Victims or Child Abuse units, and he had a long list of citizen complaints of unprofessional and illegal conduct,” the court documents state.

Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said in a statement that Vicknair’s “alleged actions are clear violations of the department’s policies and contrary to everything that we require and expect of our police officers.”

After an internal investigation, authorities arrested Vicknair last September and charged him with sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile and malfeasance in office, according to The New York Times.

Vicknair, a 13-year police veteran, was formally fired in January. NOPD officials also contacted the FBI regarding potential civil rights violations stemming from the case.

“What has happened to them is so traumatizing, the cost of counseling and piecing your life back together after something like this, you know your trust in police officers, and medical care providers and anyone in a position of authority is broken,” Phelps said, according to television station WVUE. “That’s very damaging especially at this young age.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline for 24/7 confidential support via online chat or phone at 800.656.HOPE (4673).

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